The Nature of the Supreme

Spiritual progress is always tested in the proving ground of everyday life and our maturing is always examined there.

To be peaceful during a deep meditation is one thing, but how peaceful will you be when someone is rude to you? To be filled with loving kindness on a friend’s birthday is fine, but can you still see the divinity in someone who has just stolen your car?

One of the truly illumining things we can observe in the company of spiritual masters is how they respond to the everyday challenges and problems of life. The passing hours in their company are our schoolroom and each situation with the teacher illustrates an important lesson – how to be happy, or detached, or what is the right conduct or response in a certain situation.

In my own years with Sri Chinmoy, many of the most significant and enduring lessons have been taught in this way. Just as we learn how to be a great tennis player or dancer or writer by observing the best of these in action, so too we learn what enlightenment means by spending time studying the actions and reactions of those who are enlightened. Examples of this with my teacher are countless.

I remember, in one very random example, in a six-day race in New York how one of the competitors endlessly complained about everyone and everything, finding fault everywhere. A foot blister had worsened and become infected and as he found his number two race position slipping back to number five, then sixth, his mood worsened and he demanded stronger and stronger painkillers, then prescription medicines to mask the pain and keep going in the race. At a certain point, when the race officials feared serious injury could result and refused his request for further pain suppressants our competitor became extremely bitter and complaining.

Sri Chinmoy was consulted and simply said, "The nature of the scorpion is to sting, the nature of the Supreme is to be compassionate." It was a simple thing to say but it put everything into a perspective that carried the calming and soothing feeling that deep truth always brings. Our competitor was caught by the force of his own nature but God’s nature is to be compassionate – and our challenge as spiritual seekers is to respond in this same way. Compassion does not mean excessive leniency or indulgence or weakness – instead it endows us with a sympathetic identification and kindness, and empowers us also with detachment and an understanding of the right thing to do. Compassion lifts us up above ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to the awareness that everything is just God’s game, and He is enjoying His own unfolding in every human being.

So you play your part, and others play theirs, and everything will work out just fine.

    – Jogyata.